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Paralysis of skeletal muscle by butanedione monoxime, a chemical phosphatase


The chemical phosphatase butanedione monoxime (BDM) reversibly inhibited twitches and tetanic contractions in bundles of rat soleus fibres in a dose-dependent manner (2–20 mM) but had no effect on the amplitude or time course of action potentials. In addition, BDM reversibly reduced the amplitude of potassium contractures demonstrating a depressant effect on contraction not mediated by action potentials. BDM had no effect on asymmetric charge movement but depressed calcium currents across the surface membrane in voltage-clamped fibres. The most significant effect of BDM on excitation-contraction coupling was a reduction in the amplitude of the calcium transient associated with contraction in aequorin-injected fibres. While these experiments do not eliminate the possibility of a direct effect of BDM on contractile filaments, reduction of calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, at least at low concentrations of BDM (below 2 mM), would seem to be the main mechanism for the inhibition of contractions in rat skeletal muscle.

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Correspondence to M. W. Fryer.

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Fryer, M.W., Gage, P.W., Neering, I.R. et al. Paralysis of skeletal muscle by butanedione monoxime, a chemical phosphatase. Pflugers Arch. 411, 76–79 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00581649

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Key words

  • Butanedione monoxime
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Calcium transients
  • Contraction